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State of the Sport 2011: Largest Events


Running Events 2010

Running Events 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Each year Running USA releases statistics for the nation’s top road races including such popular lists as the Top 100 U.S. Timed, Largest Festivals, Largest by Distance, Largest by State, Women-Only, World’s Largest and Youth Runs. To see where your favorite road races ranked in 2010 or what the #1 race is in the different largest race categories, go to: 

Top 100 U.S. Timed – In 2010, the Top 100 U.S. Timed list accounted for just over 1.4 million finishers (a record) compared to 922,500 finishers in 2000, up more than 51%, and as a benchmark, in 2000 the 100th race on the list had just over 3,600 finishers, while by 2010 that number had grown to more than 7,000. Last year, a record 42 half-marathons made up the Top 100 U.S. Timed list, and four of those half-marathons were inaugural events.

By comparison, in 2000, there were only 11 half-marathons on the Top 100 U.S. Timed list and none were inaugural. As mentioned in previous State of the Sport Reports, since 2003, the half-marathon has been the fastest growing distance in the U.S. with an incredible 24% annual growth the past two years.

Largest by Distance – If you think a marathon or half-marathon distance had the largest race field in the nation, think again. In fact, the top 3 largest road races for 2010 were two 10Ks and a 12K all with more than 50,000 timed finishers each: Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K (50,918), Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K (50,721) and Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K (50,477); it was the first time that more than two U.S. road races exceeded 50,000 timed finishers in the same year.

During the Second Running Boom, the 15K and 10 mile have also shown impressive, but relatively quiet growth compared to the more talked about half-marathon and marathon. In 2010, for example, for the first time, three U.S. 15Ks had more than 10,000 finishers: Gate River Run (13,342), Hot Chocolate (12,338) and Boilermaker (11,540) and there were none in 2005, while in the 10 mile, three races had more than 15,000 finishers: Blue Cross Broad Street Run (26,266), Army Ten-Miler (21,744) and Credit Union Cherry Blossom (15,762) with none in 2005.

To view the largest races in the U.S. by distance, click here:

Largest by State – The ING New York City Marathon weekend including the Marathon, Continental Airlines International Friendship Run 4K, NYRR 5 Mile and Run With Champions youth event rank New York #1 with the largest festival event on the map with nearly 62,000 estimated finishers (the vast majority timed with a world record 44,977 finishers in the Marathon), but other states have stand-alone large events topping the list too such as the “Show Me” state of Missouri (Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Festival 5K – 55,419 estimated finishers), Georgia (Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race 10K – 50,918), Washington (Lilac Bloomsday 12K – 50,721) and Colorado (Dick’s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10K – 50,477).

Largest Festivals – Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure events include 8 races in the top 15 festivals for 2010. Overall U.S. Festivals continue to experience tremendous growth. For example, in 2010, the 50th largest festival had 22,089 finishers compared to 2009 when the 50th largest festival had 19,450, and over ten years ago only 12,000 finishers.

Women-Only – Of the largest women-only races (95% or greater female finishers), seven of the top 15 were half-marathons in 2010. The top 3 events spanned from the west coast to the east coast, with the Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in California (15,556), Disney Princess Half-Marathon in Florida (11,359), and the St. Luke’s Women’s Fitness Celebration in Idaho (11,041 estimated finishers). In 2010, there were more than 20 women-only events with 2000-plus finishers.

World’s Largest – With 67,999 timed finishers, the Sun-Herald City2Surf 14K in Sydney, Australia was the world’s largest road race in 2010. For the first time, six marathons – New York City, London, Chicago, Berlin, Paris and Tokyo – had more than 30,000 finishers in the same year, while the U.S. again had 7 of the 15 largest marathons in the world. There were also nine half-marathons worldwide with more than 19,000 finishers (a record) and a record-tying seven with more than 20,000 finishers (also 2009). Last year, the United States had 14 of the top 20 half-marathons in the world.

Largest Youth – With the development of the final mile programs and the majority of road race events now incorporating a youth component, youth runs across the nation have also experienced explosive growth the last 5-10 years. Running USA estimates that there were more than 40 youth events in 2010 that surpassed 2,000 youth finishers at a single event.